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Avoid these mistakes on your scholarship essay


Tuesday, May 22, 2012
When applying to college, you typically are required to answer at least one essay question. If you seek financial assistance, you can expect to write an essay for every scholarship program to which you are applying.

For gifted writers and natural storytellers, fleshing out one topic after another may be a piece of cake. However, if English is not your strongest subject, you may dread having to put together yet another essay.

While there is no way to get around writing a scholarship essay, it is helpful to be aware of some of the mistakes applicants typically make and thereby avoid these pitfalls. Just being aware of these common mistakes may provide you with the leg up you need to land the scholarship you desire. Here are a few of the errors you can avoid:

Not reading the question

Never skim an essay question. Read it several times and make sure you understand everything that is being asked of you. If there are multiple parts to the question, break it down by writing a quick outline so you are sure to address each point. This will also help you stay on topic and avoid going off on tangents.  Also, be sure to check if the essay requires a minimum or maximum number of words and stick to the word count.

Using words you would never know

A thesaurus can be useful for avoiding repetition in an essay or adding a little zip to a sentence, but you should never rely too heavily on this resource. Just because there is a more eloquent way to say something does not mean that you should use that word or phrase if it does not fit in with your overall writing style. If every sentence in your essay is packed with words people rarely use, scholarship officials may not take your essay as seriously. Even worse, it could make them think you are plagiarizing.

Taking a rushed, unoriginal approach

You may be busy, but you will be even busier down the road if you have to work more than one job to pay for college. Therefore, make time in your schedule to ensure you are not writing your scholarship essay at the last minute.

Start planning your essay far enough in advance so you can compose an effective and original response that defines you as the ideal scholarship candidate. You can certainly take the easy route and write a middle-of-the-road essay filled with clichés, but you are unlikely to be awarded the financial assistance you seek.

No proofreading took place

A scholarship essay is not finished until it has been read and reread several times. Nothing disqualifies you faster than typos or a poorly organized essay. After carefully reading your work a few times, share it with one or more of your friends or family members and get their opinion. They might pick up on mistakes you managed to miss or suggest a different way of phrasing something.ADNFCR-16000756-ID-800781143-ADNFCR

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